The RIP Celebrity Rumor Mill – Why Bieber Keeps Meeting an Untimely Demise on Twitter
Almost every week, celebrity deaths are falsely announced on Twitter – the culprit? Nope, not the trashy tabloids featuring the infamous Elvis sightings, and the tall tales of Bat Boy and the aliens who worship Oprah. No, it’s hyper-social teens who are perpetuating this phenomena – with a strong preoccupation with the mortality of the Beebs.
We decided to conduct a little experiment, to see just how much the Canadian pop icon has been reported to kick the bucket on Twitter, in comparison to other celebs. To track death rumors on Twitter, we took a sip from our Twitter firehose, and monitored #RIP celebrity rumor tweets that had been retweeted more than 500 times.
Justin Bieber leads other celebrities by a significant distance, with his death falsely reported every two weeks!
The top reason reported for Bieber’s demise was a drug overdose – although crashing his Ferrari was a close second.
Zayn Malik of One Direction was the second most falsely mourned celebrity, with thousands of ‘Directioners’ frequently reporting his death. Other celebrities who were regularly wrongly reported as dead on Twitter in the last three months include Rihanna and Chris Brown.
So what’s the deal? What is the driving force behind this morbid teen obsession with falsifying celebrity deaths? And why is Bieber getting the brunt of it?
Catriona Oldershaw, Managing Director UK of Synthesio said:“Rumors of major celebrity deaths are a constant feature of Twitter… There are a number of reasons these rumors spread. In Justin and Zayn’s case, their young and fanatical fan base is probably one of the major factors, with vocal users quick to pass on information without fact-checking. In terms of where the rumors come from in the first place, wider research indicates that it’s often rival fans starting RIP rumors as a form of trolling.”
We’ve all seen #RIP celebrity deaths on Twitter, but chances are – if you’re over 16 and you’re not a star obsessed, die-hard fan of a rivaling celeb – you’re probably going to do a bit of reconnaissance before hitting that RT button.